Skip to main content

Grateful Dead Live at Market Square Arena on 1981-12-05

Audio Preview

Grateful Dead Live at Market Square Arena on 1981-12-05

Topics Live concert

Alabama Getaway-> Promised Land, Friend Of The Devil-> CC Rider, Cumberland Blues-> El Paso, Ramble On Rose, Passenger, Bird Song-> Let It Grow Shakedown Street > Lost Sailor > Saint of Circumstance, Big Railroad Blues > Playing in the Band > Drums > Space > The Wheel > Playing in the Band > Stella Blue > Sugar Magnolia, E: One More Saturday Night

Collection GratefulDead
Band/Artist Grateful Dead
Venue Market Square Arena
Location Indianapolis, IN

Source Soundboard and Audience composite
Lineage Master Soundboard Cassette > Reel to Reel > DAT > CDR, with Audience source for Ramble on Rose d1t7
Taped by
Transferred by


Master Soundboard Cassette > Reel to Reel > DAT > CDR, with Audience source for Ramble on Rose d1t7; CD Re-mastering, EAC'ed / SHN'ed by Scott Clugston


Reviewer: The TRUE Bucky - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 14, 2014
Subject: How About The Wheel?

This show is full of the highest octane, most high energy playing I ever heard from the Grateful Dead. Many songs this evening contain great & even 'best' or 'favorite' versions' for me.

Starting with the double-time CC Rider out of nowhere halfway through the song (we were at a total loss at the time and thought perhaps they had started Sugar Mag for an intstant in fact). The jam in CC Rider smokes & I will guarentee you no other version comes close.
A great Cumberland & sweet El Paso, what more can you want? Well, we got it: The ripping Passenger - show me a better one, followed by a sweeter than sweet Birdsong when the song was upbeat & actually sounded like a bird in flight instead of Dark Star at it's slower pace from the late 80's/early 90's (not that that this was such a bad thing, lol). They finish off things with the best, most shredded Let It Grow I have ever heard: Just the best first set I've ever seen.

The second set features a great Shakedown, a fantasic second set Big Railroad in the Ship of fools slot (how's that for an upgrade?.) A fairly average Playin for the time that features some inspired playing by Jerry near the end that reminds me of ripples of water going outward on a starlit lake that is quite impressive but shortly dissolves into the drums.

As for Lost > Saint, I must say I was damn sick and tired of it by now after 50 shows in 80/'81, of which about half saw 15 minutes of valuable time wasted shilling this duo for record sales for Go To Heaven. Therefore, I'll let others critique it. I will say that it always sounds good on tape these days (but still remarkably similar version to version). We were quite shocked when Bob screamed "What the F*CK you gonna do now!" at the end of Saint though......

The post drums sees the GD at their finest.....

An eerie space is just the start of the period in which the band had been playing some much improved space compared to the previous two years (Dec ember '81-'Spring '82). It's really amazing ~ Hints of 'Jaws' in there...... The Space hits a peak at the end that is incredible with Jerry playing some sc athing notes that almost reach 'The Tiger' before dropping into.. THE Wheel...

The Wheel that follows is just epic, again, the greatest ever, imho.

This version goes on & on, building, Jerry building up the most intense & tastey intro & finally, after almost 4 minutes, the singing begins.

The jam out leads into a sweet & extended Playing Reprise, one of the first of the Wheel > Playin' combination..

Of note, it's the very first time the band extends the Playin reprise in years, a practice they continue the rest of their career. Then a Stella with a superb ending I've never heard topped. (which only left me wondering what a Morning Dew would've been like on this night of extriordinary playing). They finish things off with a tremendous (if vocally chasllenged) Sugar Mag, which was a huge surprise, consideing they had been ending every show on a Saturday the previous 7 months with Sat Night (boy did my friend Dave give me grief over that, but that's another story).

All & all, from the start to the end, one of the best GD shows I ever saw & the playing on just about every song is off the hook. 5*'s.

Added thoughts, 11/39/13:

BTW: Nobody mentions security.. They were jocks from Indiana U I believe. In any case, they would not allow dancing ~ my friend was thrown out during Cumberland Blues as I slunk away...

We couldn't resist during the incendiary Let it Grow, and made it through most the song before being cleared out.

Later during the space, I saw my friend... he'd been readmitted & told his story to the head of security, who had issued a edict to allow dancing. So, we danced from the space on.. :^)
Reviewer: lilrichwhiteboy - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 14, 2013
Subject: The Wildest, Most Intense Show I Ever Saw !!!
They started out blazing and just burned the house down. Saying "they were ON" doesn't come close to describing it. Probably the only time C.C. Rider ever went 2X. Bird Song's jam is gorgeous > Let It Grow is a short, intense monster. I thought Phil's thundering vibration during - a way waayyy over the top - Passenger was going to bring the arena roof down, his bombs were shaking the place so much. It was actually SCARY (my friends and I were all staring at the ceiling wondering if we were going to die.) Thankfully, it held up and we were privilaged to live another day. :-) The Sailor > Saint is the best they ever did - without a question. I hear this type of pronouncement of songs constantly so, in qualifying this without hearing every single version they ever did, I mean that I don't know HOW they could have done it any better? The build-up is just incredible. And the release is truely orgasmic. One moment you can not hear on the SBD is the overly exuberant crowd reaction to the highest point in Let It Grow. No, it wasn't the unbelieveable intesity the song came to but, right at the crescendo, some crazy fool switched on ALL the stadium floods, and the place was bright as day for maybe ten seconds. It was a very unexpected and perfectly timed happening to "let it grow".

What else can I say folks, I just stood there in shock and awe, with my jaw on the floor three-quarters of the evening. The Compendium comes pretty close to accurately describing it. They were manically tight all night. And they were speedballing on something... God knows what it was? I have the SBD so I haven't tried downloading. But I prefer my so-so, overly-saturated AUD to the SBD anyway. Beg, Borrow, or steal a good FOB if you can ever find one... and let me know. Please. I'm praying The Archive may come up with one someday because the SBD is sterile and lifeless. The crowd makes the show even goofphyier than the stuff The Boyz were doing that night. Recently I put the show through some heavy reverb filtering in Sound Forge and the SBD sounds a lot better. SBDs can be harsh at times and the reverb softens the marginal singing quite nicely. 7.13.13

Addendum to original 8.09.04 post: Dear Al. Wow! I've heard of another Wise recording that is a bit problematic but, Jez!? Another - uncirculated - AUD (hopefully close FOB.) That would be something! Well Alex. What can I say besides THANK YOU !!! Though, when I first saw the notes on Doug's position, my heart sank a tad. I know how iffy B.O.B.s can be so, I was a little worried. With my positive energy vibes and nimble EQ fingers at the ready, I prayed his shotguns might surprise me ala the 5.5.81 Glen Falls show. Happily, the stream sounds pretty damn good with only a modicum of air. Phew. Brent's "tinkle tinkle" is fairly bright, and there is enough there to play around with in Sound Forge for my own listening specs. This "full" recording is head over heals better than my oversaturated copy...and a world away from the SBD. ...After twenty four years of waiting... Thanks again bro.
Reviewer: dlpmot - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 2, 2013
Subject: msa 81
This was my 3rd show in my Dead career which is still quite active I must say, and this night changed my life forever. Being from Indy, i always loved hometown shows. On this night i finally got it. Went with 3 freinds from the Pawn Brokers Pub in Indy and after it was over, they wanted to know why my jaw was still attatched to my sternum. I first off want to thank Steve, who supplied me with what he called "pyramid LSD" the night before at a party in Zionsville. He asked me if I was going to the show and advised me to take these with me. Thank you bro. Dan ,jim and Merideth were my escorts, even though I drove that night, I did not drive home after the show. I was still so stunned after that we got lost downtown driving up Pennsylvania avenue. The Alabama /Promised land openers seemed like at the time like i was flying through clouds in a trajectory that was like 65 degrees . We finally leveled off in a land that at the time was unfamiliar to me, but safe and pleasant. The CC Rider was a fast ride and by the reaction of the crowd, which was confined to the lower portion of the arena and the floor this was a major surprise to everyone in attendance.Each song just kept getting better and better, yes even the El paso was great. You could feel the "bullet go deep in my chest". The first set left me in awe, as I did not say one word during the intermission, for I did not in any way want to disturb the place I was in. Bird song was simply amazing, I never wanted it to end, flying over mountains with tall pines with a full moon, wolves standing on cliffs as I flew over them, and then my first Let it grow. wow! After Bird song i didn't think it was possible to be any higher than I was. Boy was I wrong. I remember during Shakedown being in San Francisco(i thought) before we got to the sea for lost sailor which is a song i particularly like. Drifting, Brent providing subtle waves in the ocean, Jerry at the captains wheel steering the boat, and then land ,Sty. of Circumstance, mountains on the side of my movie that was playing for me, and I remember thinking, damn, the world must know how amazing this is. Not to mention the storm the guys created which i thought i got soaked by rain water, lol. During Playing in the Band, i thought I was riding this huge bird, fflying off into a horizon that I had never seen before, covering tremendous distance of ground so quickly, and then the Drums. I fell in love with kettle drums that night, I went to a place like a huge demolished area, with all of earth's past and forgotten "things", broken wagon wheels, inventions never to be used again, replaced by a new and shiny earth full of color and life, and of course, the big wheel. studded with jewels, spinning at various speeds that took us out on the range and eventually landing on a new planet. It has been said there is no better version of " The Wheel ever performed. I agree. I have not come across it yet and I have been doing this now since my 1st show in 1976. The buildup, well , there are no adjectives in the english language that can describe it. And the Playin' Reprise is my favorite. When it was over, we just sat there for god, 20 minutes or so just digesting what just happened. I had not said a word for about 4 hours, i looked at Merideth and said," you will be driving us home tonight, I can't drive". I was virtually in shock over what i had just witnessed. I was also amazed that we had only been there for those hours, seemed like days, but the band provided everything, food, money, 5 or 6 differnt methods of transportation, and space to roam. 1 year later, i moved myself to Summit County, Colorado this night still very fresh in my mind in search of all those mountains, and tall trees, and I found them. I wanted more, alot more, and now, 32 years later, it is still the greatest night of my life, and i remember it like it was last night. God Bless all of us.
Reviewer: Darrylizer - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 28, 2013
Subject: Pooptastic sound for a board, great show!
The sound is a bit gritty, however the show is a monster! Wonderful Bird Song, Shakedown and Lost Sailor>Saint. The Playing In The Band sandwich is remarkable. This is quite a well played show with every member of the band contributing. That Cumberland just smokes! Very rewarding and it sounds like the band are really enjoying themselves. Originally I took a star off for sound but then put it back on because it's such a good show.
Reviewer: rockadayjohnny - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 21, 2012
Subject: MSA 12/5/81
Last time at a Dead show. Two in '69, one in'72 two in '73. Least distance traveled. Great seats, second only to standing in front of Jerry & Pig at a three foot stage @ Purdue in'69. Was sober as a judge but this show was a total gas & mind left body just the same. So good to hear again! Some of you who commented earlier seem to share my opinion too, despite distance & headspace. Can still 'seperate' now when they cut loose! Never gets old. 'Cosmic American Music' !
Reviewer: Savoir Faire - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 30, 2011
Subject: Magical show
We were at this show. At one point my brother turned to me and said, "Look, Jerry is Merlin."

Indeed, he was.
Reviewer: Estimated Pete - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 16, 2010
Subject: CC Rider
Sounds like it turns into Big Railroad Blues, but Bobby just sang the CC Rider lyrics instead.
Gotta love those Bobby screams too. Extra cheese please.
Reviewer: PFflyerkid - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - January 5, 2009
Subject: When I want to hear Let It Grow...
...I go to this show. Thank you.
Reviewer: swinnies - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 9, 2008
Subject: CC RIDER
Funny stuff man, bobby does not know what's going on! great version after they amped it up....great show all around, especially the first set and shakedown > saint...wise aud version is excellent in quality too!
Reviewer: early 80's meltdown - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 30, 2006
Subject: What about this monster Shakedown ?
I had a old tape of this and always loved the Shakedown and Cumberland Blues. I read the reviews on Let It Grow and Lost>Saint, so I grabbed some KB and checked 'em out. Killer stuff not a huge fan of Lost>Saint but this one is definetly a top 10. As far as Let it Grow its played top notch but short. I prefer the 73~74 Weather Report Suite's for top 10 versions. For the later Let It Grow's I like 85 and 89 the best.

ps that must been wierd to watch/listen to Bobby during this version of CC Rider esp. if you injested some form of psychedelics. Yikes
Reviewer: yippierb - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 3, 2006
Subject: Please Dude....Post The Aud recording!!!!
revising 5-05 posting. any news on getting the aud of this hotty posted? We are holding our breath in anticipation. Ditto! I can't agree more. Damn near a hometown show for the Cincy crew. Hot. 10 song first set and it rocks, Two songs in and Bob is saying thank y'all like it's the encore.The crowd(which didn't begin to fill the MSA(Upper rows enclosed by black curtains) was all together and kicking the chairs away. We danced till we hurt. The S- boards are often a sterile represntation that miss the X factor. Let It Grow is just off the charts. Check out Jerry's leads. He's tearing it up. Everybody is on including the crowd. What an energetic fun night it was. One of my favorites.
Reviewer: Albix714 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 1, 2006
Subject: New Aud Version
***Now the AUD of this show is available here: ***

Clear recording, no errors, etc.

^^lilrichwhiteboy^^ - My pleasure, thanks for the comments on Doug's source. Now I'm putting it out there to the powers that be: Please put the Doug Mow Aud of this show on I am willing to FTP it to Archive or to whomever would get it on
Reviewer: Ala Ropes - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 14, 2005
Subject: Best
This show really caught me off guard. I have come to expect minor flaws in any live rendering of "Let It Grow" due to the sheer enormity of the song, but this version is a masterpiece IMHO- I get a rush every time I listen to it and I wasn't even there! The band catches fire around "Cumberland" and doesn't look back- download this first set at least.
Reviewer: seedanrun - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - August 15, 2005
Subject: Best of '81?
This show is HOT! This is not my favorite era for the Dead, not least because I don't particularly like a lot of the songs that were in heavy rotation around this time. BUT... this little beauty features versions of two of those songs (Alabama Getaway and Passenger) that have me rethinking my opinions of them. Both are played waaay beyond any version I've heard before.

Jerry's voice is actually in decent shape for this show as well, which helps. Finally, the recording is exquisite.

If you're into this era, download it NOW. If not, give it a listen and then download it.
Reviewer: birdsgosouth - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 20, 2005
Subject: like a tiger in a trance
This is a really fantastic show. Bob switches gears on the CC Rider a la Around circa 78. The Sailor > Saint is so ripping. Didn't detect any remotely lame moments on this one.
Reviewer: catfishjon - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 28, 2005
Subject: one of my favorites...
without a doubt. I haven't heard this show for awhile but i always loved the way this whole show just flows especially the second half of second set the segue's are just harmonically perfect.
Reviewer: The Big Nasty - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 11, 2005
Subject: tone and stuff
this really IS a good show
Reviewer: UPS - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 18, 2005
Subject: Oh Yeah...
I stumbled upon this "gem" while looking for a show for a buddy from work...and I'm streaming it just to check it out.
*WOW* great stuff...but, after reading the other reviews form you guys that where there, I really wish to hear the audience version. I'll take this...don't get me wrong, but I would really love to hear you nuts :) out there.
I've never been much of a fan of C.C. Rider, but check out this version, if they were all like this one, I would like the song a hell of a lot more!! I highly recomend grabbing this nice '81 board.
Reviewer: UPS - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 18, 2005
Subject: Oh Yeah...
I stumbled upon this "gem" while looking for a show for a buddy from work...and I'm streaming it just to check it out.
*WOW* great stuff...but, after reading the other reviews form you guys that where there, I really wish to hear the audience version. I'll take this...don't get me wrong, but I would really love to hear you nuts :) out there.
I've never been much of a fan of C.C. Rider, but check out this version, if they were all like this one, I would like the song a hell of a lot more!! I highly recomend grabbing this nice '81 board.
Reviewer: capn doubledose - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - February 24, 2005
Subject: TOP 20
No words can cover how over the top hot this is. Cannot believe I have never heard this radioactive barnburner. I don't want to ruin the surprise so listen for yourself and see if these other guys and I are understating anything.

When I want to hear a whole show over right away thats a pretty good sign ;)
Reviewer: jimmi.jam - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - September 15, 2004
Subject: our hands were broken from clapping !
ok, you know those few shows dear to your heart, where the entire show was so otherwordly and your mind was so amazed at what was going on, you wondered how music could be so beautiful and you felt you wanted to tell everyone on the entire planet of what was goin on here ?!!!?!!!?....yeah, I was dosed for this show, but same with 200 others, and I tell you there was something amazing happening....we were at the most intense and hottest spot on the entire earth at that moment without a doubt....everyone around me that I didnt know was in agreement, by the jaw dropping I saw everywhere, that THIS WAS ONE OF THOSE MAGIC SHOWS
....they came out blazing when PHIL had to "shoot down" the security guards with his
guitar for trying to not let us dance!!
The drums/space was so scary and intenese, with the most beautiful seguway into the wheel....
I mean even the "dumb boring songs that night were ON....We really do need a GREaT AUD of this to hear the crowd swoon, sway and collapse in sweaty piles of togetherness
Reviewer: mcdobbles - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 30, 2004
Subject: File Corrupted
any one else??

shorten zip file
info Stream Only
Stream playlist
( VBR )
In Collection
Grateful Dead
In Collection
Live Music Archive
Uploaded by
Jonathan Aizen
on 4/26/2004
SIMILAR ITEMS (based on metadata)
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 3,436
favorite 3
comment 1
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 1 reviews )
Source: Nak 700 shotguns (mics pointed at stacks) > Sony TC D5M > Maxell XLIIS
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 16,016
favorite 5
comment 6
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 6 reviews )
Source: Soundboard
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 90,880
favorite 86
comment 22
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 22 reviews )
Source: Audience Recording: 2 Nak 300 shotguns > Sony TC-D5M > Maxell XLIIS tape;
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 44,598
favorite 51
comment 29
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 29 reviews )
Source: Audience Recording: Nakamichi CM700 mics
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 67,981
favorite 82
comment 27
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 27 reviews )
Source: Soundboard
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 43,762
favorite 17
comment 11
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 11 reviews )
Source: Audience Recording
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 11,668
favorite 9
comment 15
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 15 reviews )
Source: Soundboard with aud patches
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 53,960
favorite 60
comment 33
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 33 reviews )
Source: Soundboard
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 9,896
favorite 11
comment 9
favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 9 reviews )
Source: Sbd > Cassette Master > Cassette > Dat x 2 > CDR > SHN Seeded to FurthurNET
Grateful Dead
by Grateful Dead
eye 32,078
favorite 40
comment 24
favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite ( 24 reviews )
Source: Soundboard